Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Pardoners Tale Ii: 463 572. Write A Critical And Rhetorical Analysis Of The Passage. Giving Regard To Its Work, Function, Audience, Circulation Etc.

1329 words - 5 pages

Middle English Popular LiteratureWrite a critical analysis of the passage you choose for discussion, giving due regard to what is going on in the passage, but paying particular attention to the means by which the poet makes his point. Please focus on the passage, but you may need to relate it to the rest of the text or to like texts. You should extend your analysis to considerations of the text's place and work - circulation, function, audience, etc. That is to say, try to present not just a critical but a rhetorical reading of the text you choose to discuss.Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales,'The Pardoner's Tale' II. 463-572In this passage Chaucer sets up a contrast between the Pardoner and the sins he supposedly offers repentance for, to show the Pardoner is more sinned than sinners. He does so through a group of young companions who undertake activities of vice in each others company. They gamble, solicit prostitutes and frequent taverns together, "Of yonge folk that haunteden foyle/ As riot, hasard, stywes, and taverns" (II. 463-464). Gluttony, lechery and drunkeness are repeated throughout the passage. They are compared to the Devil and devilish activities, "And eten also and drynken over hir myght/ Thurgh which they doon the devel sacrifise/ Withinne that develes temple, in cursed wise" (II. 468-470). Chaucer then uses a biblical analogy to display the significance of the sins. He compares it to the fall of Adam and Eve from the garden of paradise, "adam our fader, and his wyf also/ Fro paradys to labour and to wo/ Were dryven for that vice, it is no drede/ For whil that adam fasted , as I rede/ He was in paradys; and whan that he/ Eet of the fruyt deffended on the tree/ Anon he was out cast to wo and peyne" (II. 505-511). Chaucer places a lot of emphasis on alcohol as a major causation factor leading to the devil's work. He highlights its ability to lead to more sin, "a lecherous thyng is wyn, and dronkenesse/ Is ful of stryvyng and of wrecchednesse/ O dronke man, disfigured is thy face/ Sour is thy breath, foul artow to embrace" (II. 549-552). Chaucer also comments on alcohol's ability to ruin a man's mind, causing them to take on the appearance of insanity, "He says there is no difference he can find/ Between a man that's quite out of his mind/ And one that's drunken, save perhaps in this/ That when a wretch in madness fallen is/ The state lasts longer than does drunkenness" (II. 493-497).Here Chaucer is setting the Pardoner up as a despicable character by pointing out his make-up full of hypocrisy and vice. Of all the vices the Pardoner sells repentance for, he is guilty of commiting himself. As Kellogg notes, 'what he collects he spends in taverns admist no very spiritual company, yet he is concerned for professional reasons that to 'lewed peple' his life should have the appearance of sanctity (273). He also argues that the Pardoner is one of Chaucer's artistic creations. That he is a generic figure, 'Like the usual professional collector,...

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